Monday, August 12, 2019

No-man's Land

What's caught your eye, Mr Kookaburra?

No-man's Land. An enigma, really. Kind of like how we're approaching the middle of August. How did that happen? Thank goodness, I've socked away some early Christmas gifts, got onto some clothes mending, and food fermenting. All good stuff! But I've also been avoiding this space too. More than real-life, demanding my energy. I've had moments I wanted to blog, but simply couldn't. I think I know why.

It's to do with the change of direction, for our property. Mr Kookaburra (above) reminded me yesterday, to be in the moment. Rather than caught up with other thoughts. Stay focused. Driven too. And you just may find another opportunity. You see, we were developing a property for 12 years, with the focus on native animal integration. With the need to suddenly start fencing, it changed our focus.

With that realisation, came the wandering of no-man's-land - looking for something else to connect to. Where was the next property touchstone, going to be found? Then on Saturday, something happened.

What will I call this coop?

One of our new neighbours, offered our former neighbours', old coop to us. I don't know it's precise vintage, but parts fell off, as we attempted to relocate it. The neighbour worked diligently with us, to break it down, into two manageable pieces - the enclosed coop and netted run. Which caused other random bits to fall off. Like the back of the coop (above) and the nesting box (below)...

Maybe, "The Downs", Chicken Coop?

The ashphalt titles on the lid (and overall roof) must have been added by the former neighbour, later. Perhaps to prevent leaks after several years exposed to our hot - and sometimes wet, climate. It looks like one of those lightweight, DIY construction coops, made of soft wood. Like pine. Also a lot of sealant was added in places too. Which made it hard to take appart.

The new neighbours weren't into keeping chickens, so intended to take it to the tip. I mean, it was falling apart. But after offering it to us, and taking a look, I saw an opportunity.

"The Shanty", Coop

It could become a permanent grow pen, for chicks. Or a place for hens in the main coop, which needed temporary isolation. Because it's a generous 2.6 metres long, and 1.6 metres wide - a hen or two, won't feel cramped. Including the external nest-box though, it's actually 1.8 metres wide. That measurement is important, when deciding upon it's permanent location.

I have the perfect spot, close to the verandah. Which is really something to share in the future. As of right now though, it needs a lot of reconstruction work done, first.

"The Gap"
~ a Brisbane thing ~

Gaps need to be filled and ventilation (like windows) need to be re-designed. Especially if I want to grow chicks out, and eliminate the threat of rodents and snakes. I'd like to have a space I can put a broody hen to raise chicks, without fear of predation, either.

Plus it just needs a darn good paint! For the athsethics, but also to preserve the soft wood.

"Peck-nique Point" 
~ a Toowoomba thing~

The plywood in the roof, has seen better days. There's also a hole on another sheet, where a tree branch, must have come through. Hence the reason, for the addition of ashphalt tiles, later on. Luckily, I have plenty of wood material and roofing iron in my stash, to mend it.

My goal is to avoid spending much. Utilising a lot of second-hand materials, instead. But a good lick of quality exterior paint, and some screws are worth buying new.

Courtesy of the company, which initially made the coop.

I hear Mr Kookaburra, laughing at me now. I mean, the irony in the stamped message (above). In black, bold print, no less. Could it be any clearer, in the connection I was looking for? Which isn't to say, I'm suddenly going to start collecting animals to fill the void. But it was the olive branch I needed, to escape the hold of no-man's land. 

Because the arrival of the coop, stirred up all kinds of things. It was a reminder of our old neighbours (that we loved) and sparked a connection with our new neighbours. It rekindled permaculture design, when it came to placement of the coop. It presented opportunities for collecting water too. Lastly, it would address some gaps in our chicken operation, to cycle the flock more regularly than we have been.

Basically, it ALL became about making those connections again. There's knowing you should do it, and then finding how to. Have you experienced no-man's land recently, and found a way forward?


  1. It does look a bit sad, but I bet you'll turn it into a palace! I bought one of those Chinese-made, flat-pack coops 8 years ago for my first 3 chooks. It's survived pretty well, but is in a run under a tarp and hasn't been out in the rain. The timber isn't very robust. I've had to make new perches (the ones provided were silly little dowel things, totally unsuitable for a chicken foot) and much of it had to be discarded due to chickens having different preferences.....they wouldn't go up the ramp to the external nextbox, so both those are unused....sitting under the house. I made a nextbox on the ground from a polystyrene fruit box and they chewed that to pieces, so now they have a pile of sugar cane mulch on the ground, surrounded by large logs. I've learned that making your own chicken house with their preferences in mind is ultimately the best way to go. LOL!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences with a similar coop, Bev. I'll keep that all in mind. Funny, they didn't use the ramp. I can see the bigger hens may not, because of their size. But small ones, would love the challenge, lol. Or at least the ones I've kept in the past, did. They seem to love the height advantage. But I'll see how it goes, once set up. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. I was tempted to buy one of those chicken coops when we had chooks but read online that they didn't last long. Since we have had the bad dog attack I have given up the idea of keeping chookies again after the dogs killed all our guinea pigs and got into the bird cages. I am sure you will resurrect that old coop quite nicely, Chris. Plus it is a nice reminder of your neighbour's friendship.

    1. It is a great reminder of our former neighbours, Chel. Although, we still do see them occassionally in the area too. I was contemplating electrified poultry netting, to let our hens out (when we get them again) so I wouldn't have to worry about stray dogs. That's always an option, if you still want to keep hens.


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